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Russia Assures On Syria Peace Talks, Chemical Weapons

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) with the head of the Syrian National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, Ahmad al-Jarba, in Moscow on February 4.
Russia is offering assurances that its ally, the Syrian government, will attend the next round of peace talks with the opposition and also hand over its chemical arms for destruction.

The assurances came on February 4 as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Moscow with Ahmad Jarba, leader of the opposition Syrian National Coalition.

The next round of talks between the Russian- and Iranian-backed government and Western-backed opposition is due to begin on February 10 in Geneva.

The first round of talks ended last week without a breakthrough.

Regarding chemical weapons, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov pledged that the Syrian government will have all of its toxic agents shipped out of the country by March 1.

The United States has criticized Damascus for missing international deadlines to dispose of its chemical arsenal.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax